On Friday, September 1975, Dr. Robert E. Leestamper was appointed as the 11th president of Southeast Missouri State University.
Leestamper succeeded Dr. Mark F. Scully, and was president from 1975 - 1979. He was faced with a time of change during his presidency, ranging from housing and parking shortages, student protests and immense campus improvements.
During his first year as president, Southeast had approximately 7,000 students enrolled, which limited available space in the university's housing and area parking facilities. The university leased three local hotels to accommodate students the first week of classes and the dorms were filled to capacity with three students assigned to a room.
The university even investigated buying the Marquette Hotel on Broadway to alleviate the problem of overcrowding. Also that year, only two parking lots were in use and a general parking fee of $25 was assessed to all students to help improve and pay for additional parking lots.
During the next four years, various improvements to the campus were made. For example, the Mark F. Scully Educational Psychology Building was opened. The University Center was completed and opened, Memorial Hall was renovated, and the university was restructured to include six related colleges.
Leestamper's previous administrative experience included: five years as president of Worcester State College in Worcester, Mass.; assistant executive director of the Minnesota Higher Education Coordination Commission; director of institutional studies of New Mexico State University; and professor and director of student affairs at Northland College.
This information is excerpted from the article "Past and Present Presidents" appearing in The Southeast Missourian on April 4, 1999.